Photo by Jeroen van Dijk on Unsplash
Is it just me, or does it seem like 2021 is whizzing by at an uncanny pace? Did last year go this quickly as well? I wonder if the focus on the pandemic and social unrest made the year move at half-speed. It is easy to get caught up in the pessimism surrounding us, and it’s even easier to get carried away and become a part of those negative voices complaining at all the cynicism everywhere we turn.
Negative thoughts have a magnetic force to them. They seem to entice other callous attitudes and create a loud, divisive environment that gladly spreads its venom. It seems to rally followers much more quickly and eagerly than those looking to spread positivity and hope.
If it were only as simple as changing our current negative thoughts into more uplifting ones, then we could snap ourselves out of that gloomy, discouraging place. But sometimes, and especially during the last year, the despair has felt like nothing we’ve previously experienced and navigating these unchartered territories can be confounding and disheartening even more.
Is there more than just changing our current attitude? Can we simply exchange our pessimism for optimism and change into a magnet of positivity? Is it true that we are ultimately responsible to make this change by ourselves?
Concerto at a concert
This week offered plenty of opportunities for negative thoughts for me. My first step in trying to defeat them is to allow myself to be okay that I am having these unwanted feelings. This helps me become aware that ups and downs are a part of life, and the acceptance eventually silences the negativity. But it wasn’t working. It was time for another solution.
As if Monday wasn’t difficult enough, Tuesday kept the pace going. That night, I was supposed to attend a rehearsal for the Henderson Symphony. For the past 2 decades, I have been performing with this orchestra and during the past year, like every other music group, performances were canceled. But as fate would have it, a tooth which had been troubling me for a few weeks, finally needed attention. The doctor told me it needed to be removed immediately so the rehearsal and upcoming concert were definitely out of the question.
The pain from the tooth wasn’t exactly adding to the positivity, but I knew I had to do something about my less-than-stellar attitude. Thankfully, I decided to go to the concert. During the prior two rehearsals I attended, all the signs were there that it was going to be a great performance.
The concert featured Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto. For those of you not familiar with it, it is arguably one of the most well-known and difficult pieces for the violin. I arrived a few minutes early and our esteemed Conductor, Alexandra Arrieche, came over to greet me. She is dynamic, young, and a talented conductor who begins every concert by talking about the pieces to be performed. The theme for the concert was “Dreams,” and as she talked about why the composer wrote it, she mentioned hope.
Her words struck a chord within me, and as the music began, my mood completely changed. By the time the concert was over, the entire audience was thrilled with the performance and I was proud of the group to which I belonged. I was no longer in a negative place.
Up to You
The bottom line is that it is ultimately up to each one of us individually to figuratively dig ourselves out from the negativity and change our mindsets. And the deeper we find ourselves in the negativity the more crucial it is to get ourselves out. But that advice is much easier said than done.
When we find ourselves in a negative state it can feel like we are trapped in a downward spiral and cannot find a way out. The best remedy is to set a plan before you’re there and it can help push you back to an optimistic state.
Make a list of some of your favorite musical pieces that will lift your spirits. Frequently, meditation or prayer are extremely beneficial and soul-soothing. There are plenty other ways including having a friend who will listen, provide an empathetic ear, and respond with encouraging words to get you back to the positive mindset that paves the way for a positive day.
Once you have come up with several ideas, be quick to implement them at the slightest sign of your own negativity. By creating this habitual behavior, you’ll become more likely to get yourself out from under the rock of despair.
Negative thoughts are weights on our bodies and roadblocks in our minds. They also attract other damaging outlooks, and often generate more enthusiasm than the alternative. It is easy to get caught up in the rush of negativity yet it takes immense strength to fight it with optimism. Never allow yourself to succumb to its false narratives. Negative thoughts will never be attracted to positive ones, nor will they have any interest or concern for values other than their own destructive ones.
It can be difficult at times not to have some negative thoughts, but we will always remember to do our best to quickly get out of that situation when we realize it is up to us to make the change. And it begins with a determined decision to enhance our abilities to accomplish this task. I know one concerto that reminded me of this.
My thanks to Jeroen van Dijk on Unsplash for the wonderful picture and I look forward to your comments.